Layer 1: A Modernized version of SCORM
SCORM has been around for over a decade now and it has served the e-learning industry well. It was a visionary technology for its time, but ten years is an eternity in the world of technology. SCORM is long overdue for an update.
At its simplest, the Experience API is the next generation of SCORM that allows e-learning to use modern technologies in an interoperable way.
For fellow geeks, the Experience API is a set of RESTful web services. The services carry a JSON payload that allows a “Learning Activity Provider” to make a series of “Statements” to a “Learning Record Store (LRS)”. Each “Statement” describes a learning experience and consists of three parts, an “Actor,” a “Verb” and an “Object”. A “Statement” conveys something like “Mike passed Introduction to REST”. For a deep geek dive into how the Experience API works, start with the xAPI developer section.
For the rest of you, the Experience API lets you do all the fun stuff you want to incorporate into your learning programs but just can’t because SCORM gets in the way.
The Experience API is great for tracking:
- Mobile Learning
- Serious Games
- Informal Learning
- Real World Performance
The Experience API allows you to operate anywhere:
- Disconnected or occasionally connected environments
- On any device (ex: smartphone, submarine sonar system)
- From any server (host your own content, no more cross-domain scripting issue)
- Outside the web browser (ex: native iPhone app, F-16 flight simulator)
The Experience API lets you do things that weren’t easy or even possible in SCORM:
- Launch content outside the LMS
- Maintain complete control over content delivery and user experience
- Freely navigate a learner across disparate content
- Add security to prevent users from cheating
With the Experience API, you can deliver a richer instructional experience:
- Interactive and adaptive learning experiences
- Multi-modal learning experiences (ex: reinforce your CBT with text message refreshers)
- Blended learning
- Learning experiences that span long time periods
xAPI lets you report data that just didn’t quite fit well in SCORM:
- Team-based training
- Multiple scores for a course (pre-test and post-test)
- Many attempts (and you control when new attempts begin)
- Detailed test results
- Much more (we’re just talking SCORM improvement at this point)
Good stuff, right? This is all real, and forward-looking vendors are making it happen right now.
The first layer alone represents a significant leap for our industry. The Experience API will unlock a world of potential innovation. But, of course, there’s more…